Keeping the Peace: Restoring Financial
Harmony to Your Relationships

Money. It's one of the top three causes of conflict in relationships. Whether husbands and wives, parents and their children, friends or business partners, it's a subject that can drive a debilitating wedge between two people who otherwise are perfectly in tune with each other.

To keep the peace in your relationship, follow the three C's of financial harmony.

Communicate: Start by talking about your individual money styles. What do you like about the other person's attitudes toward money? What parts of their money personality don't you like? What results do you fear? You might tell an overspender that you like his spontaneity and generosity, but you fear he will neglect important financial goals unless he sticks to a budget.

Compromise: Having expressed your concerns about current behavior, discuss the facts surrounding the situation. What are each partner's goals? Start moving toward the middle, with each person making certain concessions that bring the team closer together. For example, a parent worried about her son's inattention to saving might require that a certain percentage of his income from a part-time job go into a college fund, allowing him to spend the remainder freely.

Commit: In the interest of saving an otherwise good relationship, you may have to change the way you have been doing things. Change is not easy - it takes commitment. You may even want to separate finances completely. If there are good reasons to keep some of your money together, make arrangements that require both partners' approval before money is withdrawn or keep the balances low enough that one person's indiscretion won't damage your overall financial health or the health of your relationship.